2018 candidate for City of Mitcham.
Heritage survey responses.
Do you agree that the identification and protection of local heritage places is best done by local councils rather than DPTI (Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure)?
Ideally, it is done in conjunction with all stakeholders. I hesitate to say 'yes' to all councils having the lead, simply because some Councils may not take this responsibility seriously enough, or have sufficient (and appropriate) resources to allocate towards it. I do think that modern councils have a lead role to play in representing their local areas to any and all stakeholders, including pushing for proactive and positive change that protects our heritage while building for the future.
In your opinion, has the current system of local heritage protection served your community well?
There are active community elements such as the Coromandel Valley National Trust that have played a role in highlighting special areas of interest in my ward, but I am unsure of how well this has fit into the current system, or whether they have had to fight to be heard. I have watched with some dismay as buildings have been knocked over in the CBD with little chance for community consultation or appeal. Developers should not have the final say IMHO.
Should councils reject proposals to list local places of historic merit simply because an owner objects?
No, only if the objections have merit and apply to the case in hand. All input on the issue needs to be reasonable and well-considered. Residents must be made to feel heard, but I am not in favour of 'black and white' absolutes, for this will work against certain heritage decisions as well as for them.
Should neighbours of local heritage listed buildings have a right of appeal on development applications that propose demolition?
All residents should have access to a system of appeal if they have reasonable and valid concerns or objections.
Should buildings listed as Contributory Items in your council area receive better protection?
I would need to look at what the exact current protections are, and also at what defines a 'contributory item' - some may be of more merit than others. In general though, I am in favour of protecting assets that contribute to a community's heritage and character, especially in areas that have a high historical value eg pioneering road markers or cottages in the Adelaide hills.
Do you agree that places proposed for listing by your council as Local Heritage or Contributory Items should be subject to review by DPTI? Or would reviews be more appropriately conducted by an independent source of expert advice?
Again, all stakeholders should be heard. I would consider an independent source of expert advice if it was demonstrated that there was potential for bias or political interference within DPTI's decision-making process in this regard. I am interested to hear the providence of the DPTI/Council/Heritage relationship in order to be better informed.
Would you like to see your council work more closely with the National Trust of SA in protecting heritage, for example, by signing up as one of the Trust's Civic Partners?
Yes! It is disappointing this relationship hasn't already been established.
What are your personal suggestions for improving the way your council handles policy and planning?
Much better communication with the community, and through communication, create real engagement in council decision making. Councillors are not the experts - the experts need to feel welcomed to the chamber and well-received in regard to their input.
Should councils actively encourage individuals to nominate places for consideration as local heritage?
Yes! Council is meant to be there for the community, not above it. When we disenfranchise our residents, we weaken our cities as a whole.